School of Law

Professor Rosemary Hunter, FAcSS; BA(Hons) LLB (Hons) (Melb); JSM, JSD (Stanford)


Professor of Law and Socio-Legal Studies

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7882 3984
Room Number: Mile End


Rosemary Hunter is Professor of Law and Socio-Legal Studies at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL). She teaches Family Law and Jurisprudence and Legal Theory and also contributes to PhD Research Seminars. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, the Chair of the Socio-Legal Studies Association (since 2011), a founding editor of the online open access journal feminists@law, one of the General Editors of the Onati International Series in the Sociology of Law and one of the Series Editors of the Edward Elgar Research Handbooks in Law and Society.


Works in Progress

Professor Hunter is currently working on the following projects:

  • Mapping Paths to Family Justice (with Anne Barlow, Janet Smithson and Jan Ewing). Research on this project is complete and the research team are now writing up the findings into publications and working with stakeholders to translate them into materials and services to help separating couples navigate the family justice system.
  • Feminist judging. This broad project involves theorising about the practice of feminist judging in a variety of contexts, including lower courts (with Kathy Mack and Sharyn Roach-Anleu); sentencing in domestic homicide cases (with Danielle Tyson), and a systematic analysis of Ba ale’s judgments on the UK Supreme Court (with Erika Rackley).
  • Women’s Legal Landmarks (led by Rosemary Auchmuty and Erika Rackley). Professor Hunter is contributing a chapter to this project on the enactment of the Sex Discrimination Act 1975.

Examples of research funding:

Professor Hunter has held a number of research grants from the ESRC and the Australian Research Council (ARC). Her current funded projects are:

  • ESRC: Mapping Paths to Family Justice (2011-2014) – with Anne Barlow and Janet Smithson (Exeter)
  • ARC: Australian Feminist Judgments Project: Jurisprudence as Praxis (2012-2014) – with Heather Dougas and Francesca Bartlett (University of Queensland) and Trish Luker (University of Technology Sydney).

Professor Hunter also regularly undertakes funded research consultancies, most recently:

  • Ministry of Justice: Research on Self-Represented Parties in Private Family Law Cases (2012-2014) – with Liz Trinder (Exeter), Emma Hitchings (Bristol), Leanne Smith (Cardiff), Jo Miles (Cambridge) and Richard Moorhead (UCL)
  • Family Justice Council: Research on Fact-Finding Hearings and the Implementation of the Domestic Violence Practice Direction (2011-2013) – with Adrienne Barnett (barrister).



  • Australian Feminist Judgments: Righting and Rewriting Law – edited with Heather Douglas, Francesca Bartlett and Trish Luker (Hart Publishing 2014)
  • Feminist Judgments: From Theory to Practice – edited with Clare McGlynn and Erika Rackley (Hart Publishing 2010)
  • Enforcing Human Rights in Australia: An Evaluation of the New Regime – with Beth Gaze (Themis Press 2010)
  • Domestic Violence Law Reform and Women’s Experience in Court: The Implementation of Feminist Reforms in Civil Proceedings (Cambria Press 2008)
  • Rethinking Equality Projects in Law: Feminist Challenges – edited (Hart Publishing 2008)
  • Choice and Consent: Feminist Engagements with Law and Subjectivity – edited with Sharon Cowan (Routledge-Cavendish 2007)
  • Changing Law: Rights, Regulation and Reconciliation – edited with Mary Keyes (Ashgate 2005)
  • Thinking About Law: Perspectives on the History, Philosophy and Sociology of Law – edited with Richard Ingleby and Richard Johnstone (Allen & Unwin 1995)
  • Indirect Discrimination in the Workplace (Federation Press 1992).

Book Chapters

  • ‘Paths to Justice in Divorce Cases in England and Wales’ – with Anne Barlow, Janet Smithson and Jan Ewing, in Mavis Maclean and John Eekelaar (eds), Delivering Family Justice in the 21st Century (Hart Publishing 2015)
  • ‘Judicial Diversity and the “New” Judge’, in Hilary Sommerlad, Sonia Harris-Short, Steven Vaughan and Richard Young (eds), The Futures of Legal Education and the Legal Profession (Hart Publishing 2015)
  • ‘Domestic Violence: A UK Perspective’, in John Eekelaar and Robert George (eds), Routledge Handbook of Family Law and Policy (Routledge 2014)
  • ‘Contesting the Dominant Paradigm: Feminist Critiques of Liberal Legalism’, in Margaret Davies and Vanessa E Munro (eds), The Ashgate Research Companion to Feminist Legal Theory (Ashgate 2013) 13-30
  • ‘The Gendered “Socio” of Socio-Legal Studies’, in Dermot Feenan (ed), Exploring the ‘Socio’ of Socio-Legal Studies (Palgrave Macmillan 2013) 205-227
  • ‘Justice Marcia Neave: Case Study of a Feminist Judge’, in Ulrike Schultz and Gisela Shaw (eds), Gender and Judging (Hart Publishing 2013) 399-418
  • ‘Constructing Vulnerabilities and Managing Risk: State Responses to Forced Marriage’, in Sharron A FitzGerald (ed), Regulating the International Movement of Women: From Protection to Control (Routledge-Cavendish 2011) 11-28
  • ‘Australian Innovations in Legal Aid Services: Lessons from an Evaluation Study’ – with Cate Banks and Jeff Giddings, in Alexy Buck, Pascoe Pleasence and Nigel Balmer (eds), Reaching Further: Innovation, Access and Quality in Legal Services (TSO 2009) 7-25.

Refereed Articles

  • ‘The “Child’s Best Interests” as an Argumentative Resource in Family Mediation Sessions’ – with Janet Smithson, Anne Barlow and Jan Ewing (2015) 17(5) Discourse Studies, 609-623, DOI 10.1177/1461445615590722
  • 'More than Just a Different Face? Judicial Diversity and Decision-Making’ (2015) 68 Current Legal Problems 119-141. Available at
  • ‘Children’s Voices: Centre-Stage or Sidelined in Out-of-Court Dispute Resolution in England and Wales?’ – with Jan Ewing, Anne Barlow and Janet Smithson (2015) 27 Child and Family Law Quarterly 43-61
  • ‘Feminist Judgments as Teaching Rexources’ (2012) 2(5) Onati Socio-Legal Series 47-62
  • ‘The Power of Feminist Judgments?’ (2012) 20 Feminist Legal Studies 135-148
  • ‘Women, Legal Aid and Social Inclusion’ – with Tracey De Simone (2009) 44 Australian Journal of Social Issues 379-398
  • ‘Access to Justice for Discrimination Complainants: Courts and Legal Representation’ – with Beth Gaze (2009) 32 UNSW Law Journal 699-724
  • ‘Can Feminist Judges Make a Difference?’ (2008) 15 International Journal of the Legal Profession 7-36. 

Other Publications

  • ‘Access to Justice? Litigants in Person Before and After LASPO’ – with Liz Trinder (2015) 45 Family Law (May), 535-541
  • Litigants in Person in Private Family Law Cases – with Liz Trinder, Emma Hitchings, Jo Miles, Richard Moorhead, Leanne Smith, Mark Sefton, Victoria Hinchly, Kay Bader and Julia Pearce (Ministry of Justice 2014), available at
    ‘Mapping Paths to Family Justice: Matching Parties, Cases and Processes’ – with Anne Barlow, Janet Smithson and Jan Ewing (2014) 44 Family Law (October), 1404-1411
  • Mapping Paths to Family Justice: Briefing Paper and Report on Key Findings – with Anne Barlow, Janet Smithson and Jan Ewing (University of Exeter 2014)
  • ‘Exploring the LASPO Gap’ (2014) 44 Family Law (May) 660-663
  • ‘Fact-Finding Hearings and the Implementation of Practice Direction 12J’ – with Adrienne Barnett (2013) 43 Family Law (April) 431-437
  • The Changing Face of Litigation: Unrepresented Litigants in the Family Court of Australia – with Ann Genovese, April Chrzanowski and Carolyn Morris (Law and Justice Foundation of NSW 2002)
  • Legal Services in Family Law – with Ann Genovese, Angela Melville and April Chrzanowski (Justice Research Centre 2000)
  • Equality of Opportunity for Women at the Victorian Bar – with Helen McKelvie (Victorian Bar Council 1998).

PhD Supervision

Professor Hunter welcomes proposals in the areas of family law, domestic violence, feminist judging/women in the judiciary and access to justice. She will consider proposals from students intending to take a feminist and/or socio-legal approach to other topics, however she does not offer supervision in the human rights field.

At QMUL she is currently supervising:

  • Liza Thompson – 'Impossible expectations? A study of the experiences of abused mothers in the child protection process'

Public Engagement

Professor Hunter is a Council member of JUSTICE and a member of the Kent Family Justice Board.

She performs a number of research advisory roles, including membership of the Advisory Board for the Oxford Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, membership of the Cafcass panel of peer reviewers, and  membership of the Ministry of Justice Family Justice Virtual Group of Experts.

In 2014, with Professor Liz Trinder (Exeter), she delivered a series of training sessions on ‘Judicial Practice and Litigants in Person’ for the Judicial College, as part of a training package for all family judges on private law family justice reforms.

Both individually and with colleagues on the Socio-Legal Studies Association Executive, and the Executive Committee of the Equal Justices Initiative, she has made numerous submissions to public consultations on research funding, open access publishing, the REF, triennial reviews of the Law Commission and Family Justice Council, proposed legal aid and family justice reforms and judicial appointments.

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